The permanent collections of the de Young and Legion of Honor—the two museums that together form the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco—feature artworks depicting a wide array of floral imagery, spanning epochs and a diverse range of cultures. Each year, the Museums celebrate these richly varied artworks by hosting Bouquets to Art, one of the country’s premier floral events. Over the course of a week, tens of thousands of visitors enjoy floral arrangements created by leading Bay Area designers and garden clubs, who interpret and pay homage the artworks with arrangements composed of fresh flowers.
Inspired by this beloved Bay Area tradition, Bouquets of Art: A Flower Dictionary from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco draws upon the rich history of floriography—the language of flowers—in order to offer a new perspective through which to explore the collections of the de Young and Legion of Honor. Selected from across the Museums’ holdings of American art, works on paper, costume and textile arts, European painting, and European decorative arts and sculpture, the fifty objects in this volume are accompanied by texts that explore a rich variety of source material, including poetry, etymology, folklore, botany, popular music, biblical verse, mythology, histories of exploration and colonization, and systems of belief. By examining well-known masterpieces through a cross-disciplinary floral lens, this book delves into familiar artworks anew, informed by the language of flowers, and reinforces an essential aspect of art appreciation: if approached with a keen eye, an open heart, and a curious mind, any artwork can be placed at the center of its own galaxy of associations.